USAID partner staff member killed in Tigray; UN condemns killing of nine aid workers so far; both call for protection and investigation

Eritrea Ethiopia Tigray

(Source: Addis Standard, Addis Ababa) – 

Picture captured by Reuters journalists shows “Eritrean soldiers in Shire, and main road between Mekelle & Shire.” Dawit Endeshaw

The U.S. Government issued a statement calling on all armed actors in Ethiopia to safeguard the lives and activities of humanitarian workers throughout Ethiopia after a staff member of a USAID partner was killed on April 28 in Kola Temben, Tigray reportedly by Eritrean and Ethiopian soldiers.

“The circumstances of this incident reflect a troubling broader deterioration in the safety and security of the environment in which humanitarian workers are operating in Ethiopia every day”

– U.S. government

“The Government of Ethiopia has a central role to play in ensuring the safety of civilians, including the humanitarian community. Further, all armed actors must uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law. We call on all armed actors to allow and facilitate unhindered, consistent, and safe access for aid—and aid workers—to reach all people in need,” the statement said.

The statement quoted eyewitnesses, as saying the slain staff member of the USAID partner has “clearly identified himself as a humanitarian worker and pleaded for his life before he was killed by military actors.”
“The circumstances of this incident reflect a troubling broader deterioration in the safety and security of the environment in which humanitarian workers are operating in Ethiopia every day, as well as the worsening humanitarian and human rights crisis.”

Earlier today the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Ethiopia, Dr. Catherine Sozi, condemned the attacks that led to the death of nine aid workers in Ethiopia over the past six months in the Tigray Region and in Benishangul Gumuz Region.

“I am appalled by these events, and I send my deepest condolences to the family and colleagues of the deceased. Aid workers do their utmost possible to alleviate human suffering and deliver critical relief aid despite challenging conditions” 

– Dr. Sozi

“I am appalled by these events, and I send my deepest condolences to the family and colleagues of the deceased. Aid workers do their utmost possible to alleviate human suffering and deliver critical relief aid despite challenging conditions, including in areas where hostilities are ongoing. As provided by international and national law and policies, humanitarian actors must be respected, protected, and fully assisted in carrying out their mission”, Dr. Sozi said.

The U.S. government said it strongly urge the Government of Ethiopia to immediately investigate and condemn killings of humanitarian workers and civilians and to take clear action to hold those responsible accountable.”

Similarily, Dr. Sozi asked the Government of Ethiopia “to ensure that an official, independent and impartial investigation into these nine killings is conducted, and that the authorities hold the perpetrators of attacks against humanitarian personnel accountable.”

 

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